London close: Miners lead stocks slightly higher
London stocks finished in the green on Wednesday, although the gains were less than spectacular as investors continued to fret about the vaccine rollout in Europe, after the Johnson & Johnson jab was suspended due to blood clot concerns.
The FTSE 100 ended the session up 0.71% at 6,939.58, and the FTSE 250 was ahead 0.39% at 22,355.45.
Sterling was trading above the waterline as well, last rising 0.31% on the dollar to $1.3793, and strengthening 0.1% against the euro to change hands at €1.1519.
Sentiment was lifted as Wall Street opened earlier in the afternoon, with a number of banking plays kicking off earnings season stateside with results ahead of expectations.
JPMorgan, Wells Fargo and Goldman Sachs all reported solid numbers, ahead of what market watchers had pencilled in.
“The positivity in US bank stocks has not really permeated across the Atlantic, with only Barclays seeing any real bullish read-across from today’s earnings,” said IG chief market analyst Chris Beauchamp.
“UK-focused names NatWest and Lloyds have been quiet for most of the day, although the general bullishness on global banking stocks among investors is still evident.”
In equity markets, miners were in positive territory, with Antofagasta up 4.46%, Glencore ahead 5.44%, and Anglo American 3.03% firmer.
QinetiQ Group surged 8.91% after it said its annual results were set to beat market expectations after a strong fourth quarter.
EasyJet ascended 5.84% after saying its headline pre-tax losses for the first half would come in slightly better than analysts’ expectations thanks to cost-cutting, and that it expected a pick-up in passenger numbers from late May.
On the downside, Tesco slid 2.02% after it reported an unchanged annual dividend and a 20% drop in annual profit after Covid-19 costs outweighed higher revenue.
Airtel Africa tumbled 12.09% after an unnamed institutional seller sold a 1.3% stake in the telecommunications company in a placing.
The seller placed 50 million shares in Airtel at 75p each.
In broker note action, Tullow Oil rocketed 9.39% after a rating upgrade at HSBC, while Restaurant Group was knocked 1.13% lower by a downgrade at JPMorgan.
FTSE 100 - Risers
Glencore (GLEN) 302.50p 5.44%
Antofagasta (ANTO) 1,800.00p 4.32%
BP (BP.) 308.35p 3.39%
BHP Group (BHP) 2,208.00p 3.30%
Royal Dutch Shell 'A' (RDSA) 1,438.40p 3.10%
Anglo American (AAL) 3,139.50p 2.90%
Royal Dutch Shell 'B' (RDSB) 1,366.40p 2.85%
Compass Group (CPG) 1,602.50p 2.82%
InterContinental Hotels Group (IHG) 5,246.00p 2.70%
Rio Tinto (RIO) 5,853.00p 2.67%
FTSE 100 - Fallers
Auto Trader Group (AUTO) 578.40p -2.03%
Tesco (TSCO) 227.40p -2.02%
B&M European Value Retail S.A. (DI) (BME) 539.80p -1.85%
Hargreaves Lansdown (HL.) 1,641.50p -1.77%
Sage Group (SGE) 641.80p -1.65%
Berkeley Group Holdings (The) (BKG) 4,526.00p -1.33%
Rightmove (RMV) 608.80p -1.30%
Hikma Pharmaceuticals (HIK) 2,400.00p -1.28%
Ferguson (FERG) 9,094.00p -1.26%
Legal & General Group (LGEN) 290.70p -1.06%
FTSE 250 - Risers
Tullow Oil (TLW) 49.81p 9.76%
QinetiQ Group (QQ.) 351.60p 9.53%
Hammerson (HMSO) 38.67p 5.97%
easyJet (EZJ) 978.00p 5.84%
TUI AG Reg Shs (DI) (TUI) 393.70p 4.54%
Energean (ENOG) 878.00p 3.66%
Cairn Energy (CNE) 170.10p 3.59%
Carnival (CCL) 1,729.60p 3.56%
Watches of Switzerland Group (WOSG) 735.00p 3.38%
Ascential (ASCL) 355.20p 3.26%
FTSE 250 - Fallers
Airtel Africa (AAF) 75.00p -11.56%
Softcat (SCT) 1,891.00p -3.96%
NCC Group (NCC) 280.50p -3.94%
UDG Healthcare Public Limited Company (CDI) (UDG) 818.00p -2.73%
Helios Towers (HTWS) 167.40p -2.22%
Paragon Banking Group (PAG) 476.80p -2.21%
Aston Martin Lagonda Global Holdings (AML) 1,952.50p -2.13%
Babcock International Group (BAB) 312.60p -2.13%
BMO Global Smaller Companies (BGSC) 161.00p -1.83%
XP Power Ltd. (DI) (XPP) 5,010.00p -1.76%